US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry to visit China

US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry concludes his three-day visit to China today. Kerry met with his Chinese counterpart, Xie

US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry to visit China

Photo: Reuters/Tom Brenner

US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry concludes his three-day visit to China today.

Kerry met with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, to discuss cooperation on carbon emissions reductions. The meeting is a follow up to talks earlier this year. Despite rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, China and the US have agreed to cooperate against climate change regardless of competition in other spheres.

Both sides are exchanging views on what coordination entails ahead of the UN Glasgow Climate Change Conference in early November. Coordination involves using policies such as a circular economy and investments in green energy storage to decarbonize.

Expect Kerry to push strongly for China to speed up its timeline for net-zero emissions from 2060 to 2050 to be more in line with US and EU projections. However, this will likely prove difficult as the Chinese economy relies heavily on coal. Short-term, expect China to continue to push electric vehicle sales for both economic and environmental reasons. Electric vehicle usage cuts back on extreme air pollution in major cities while also positioning China to become a global center for vehicle and battery production. Medium-term, this will likely decrease vehicle costs and increase Beijing’s profits and national energy security.

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